SBD/April 24, 2013/Colleges

New College Football Playoff Will Debut At Cowboys Stadium On Jan. 12, 2015

Cowboys Stadium had long been a favorite to host the '15 championship game
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, "will be awarded the college football playoff's first national championship, to be held Jan. 12, 2015," while the Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls will join the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls "in the six-bowl semifinal rotation for the new playoff," according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. Sources said that Arlington has been "a prohibitive favorite for several months, but an impressive package from Tampa made it a tough decision." One source said, "It was closer than a lot of people thought it would be." Sources also said that the semifinal rotation "has been determined as follows: the Rose (Pasadena) and Sugar (New Orleans) bowls will host the semifinals in 2015, the Orange (Miami) and Cotton (Arlington) bowls will host in 2016, and the Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.) and Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) bowls will host in 2017." They will "keep that rotation through January 2026." The Holiday Bowl in San Diego was the "only other bowl to bid for a semifinal site." Sources said that this summer, the College Football Playoff will "start accepting bids for the Jan. 11, 2016, and Jan. 9, 2017, championship games." Meanwhile, sources said that the College Football Playoff "will be the name of the four-team playoff" (ESPN.com, 4/23). Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins said, "The nature of the sport doesn't allow itself to have a playoff system like college basketball. This seems to be a good compromise to create some kind of playoff, yet maintain wonderful traditions that have made college football the way it is today" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/24).

BOWLS STAND TO BENEFIT: WXIA-NBC’s Jennifer Leslie notes Atlanta leaders have been “lobbying to get a piece of the college playoff pie and the economic boost that such a high-profile event would bring.” Mayor Kasim Reed said that Atlanta “proved it’s ready for more big sporting events” after hosting the Final Four. Leslie notes bids for the new playoff system were “due days after Atlanta city council members approved funding for a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome last month,” a main reason Reed was "pushing for a quick decision” (11ALIVE.com, 4/24). Fiesta Bowl Dir of PR Andy Bagnato said of the prospect of joining the semifinal rotation, “We are excited, and we are confident. We believe we will have good news.” He added that the Fiesta Bowl would “provide Phoenix-area fans with a wider array of teams to watch around New Year’s Day” should it be selected to the College Football Playoff as expected (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/24). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Mike Bianchi notes there was talk Orlando "would be an obvious front-runner as one of the 'host' sites for the semifinals, but then, at the last minute, Orlando backed out and opted against even bidding on the semifinals." Florida Citrus Sports CEO & Russell Athletic Bowl Chair Steve Hogan "actually believes in the original concept of why bowl games were created: To lure college football tourists to town and put as many heads in beds as the rules will allow." According to the "new playoff mandate, if you are one of the 'host' bowls, you cannot stage any other postseason college game in your stadium." Bianchi: "Why bid to become a playoff 'host' bowl when it's going to cost you an estimated $35 million a year in economic impact?" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/24).

MORE OF THE SAME? The AP's Jim Litke writes under the header, "A Cartel By Any Other Name Still A Cartel." There is "plenty to like about the redesign." But the "downside is considerable too." It still "concentrates too much money and even more power in the hands of too few." By effectively "gutting what used to be the Big East, commissioners of the five remaining power conferences ... will be able to reserve even more slots in big-paying bowls for their league members, and take home an even bigger share of the extra loot a playoff system brings in" (AP, 4/24).

KEEP IT SIMPLE
: BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said of choosing the name College Football Playoff, "It's really simple. It gets right to the point. Nothing cute. Nothing fancy. We decided it would be best to call it what it is" (AP, 4/24). SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes a "simplistic approach to a new name was the right direction for a sport trying to rebrand its postseason while still retaining many elements of the oft-derided BCS." Choosing the name marked the "first step in what will be a long-term branding campaign to ensure that college football fans don't confuse the sport's new world order with the old, heavily criticized one" (SI.com, 4/24). YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde wrote of the name, "Boring is better than some other alternatives. Look what Legends and Leaders got the Big Ten -- a two-year succession of mockery." Forde: "Lame as the name is, it's not the only literal one out there in sports." The NBA Finals "is pretty elementary," and so are "the AFC and NFC Championship games." The main thing the college football "power brokers wanted was a clean and decisive break from the BCS Era." Those letters had "become too toxic." It was "time for a Soviet-style renouncing/cleansing of the past" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/23). ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach wrote while the new name "might lack creativity and imagination ... doesn't it get right to the point?" There is a "reason the NBA has the NBA playoffs and the NFL puts on the NFL playoffs." It is "a playoff" (ESPN.com, 4/23). In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes what the new name "lacks in imagination, it makes up for in lack of subtlety." That was the "choice from three dozen possibilities." Bohls: "Kind of hate to hear the runners-up" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 4/24).

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: SPORTS ON EARTH's Matt Brown wrote the name "College Football Playoff" "wouldn't be weird ... if it hadn't been for the buildup to the announcement, and the fact that a marketing firm was hired to help with branding." Brown: "The big reveal turned out to be the exact same name we've used forever, only capitalized. ... Bowl Championship would actually make a lot of sense for the name, but those words are so stigmatized that they will never be used again" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 4/23). Univ. of Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione said upon learning the name, "Is that really a name? Or just a space-filler?" (Mult., 4/24). In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff writes, "College Football Playoff is not the World Series or Final Four. Maybe someday it will assume a name for its trophy, like the Stanley Cup" (K.C. STAR, 4/24). CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd wrote, "When the BCS commissioners hinted that the name of the playoff was going to be fairly mundane, they weren't kidding. Little did we know that would be something so inoffensive that only a loaf of white bread could be upset" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/23). In L.A., Chris Dufresne writes, "'Brand X' and 'Your Name Here' apparently were already taken." Commissioners "actually paid a consulting firm to help come up with the new name" (L.A. TIMES, 4/24). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Matt Murschel noted as part of the "branding effort, the group is asking fans to go to its website, collegefootballplayoff.com and vote on four choices for the playoff's new logo" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 4/23).
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